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Just to sum up what everyone has worked out about the advert since it seems that it did make some sense if you’re more knowledgeable about markets, children’s books and life than me.

Calmgrove  – the bear is Paddington who was from darkest Peru and could talk. I suspect this is an invoke sweet things trick to mask their devilish intent.

Jasper Hoogendam – Winnie the Pooh was originally from Winniepeg, hence the name. Not in the ad, but still interesting.

Colin McQueen – in rugby the Lions have a coach from New Zealand (kiwi) and the cheeky chicken refers to ‘having a cheeky Nandos’. I have no idea what either has to do with banks.

Shaily Agrawal/ – pointed out that bear is a market term for someone who takes risks. I don’t really want my bank to take risks, because that’s what caused the economic crash last time. Maybe that’s the subliminal bit, they rename recklessness as ‘open mindedness’ and then throw in the bear.

I, after a foolishly long time, worked out that being shut on bank holidays is what banks do.

So to translate

Keep an open mind because being open minded has opened doors to Paddington Bear, who’s secretly a risk-taking banker; rugby coaches from New Zealand; and a cheeky Nandos. Now is not the time to batten down the hatches, it’s time to stay open, except when we’re shut. Because we are not an island, well we are, all the surrounding water makes that clear, but people can still visit, which is nice. And the world is big, and it has bears and lions, unlike the UK which only just got bears and has no lions to speak of.

But what are you talking about ?

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I look at this advert every morning while waiting for the train, but it’s nonsense, isn’t it? Can anyone give me a hand? Does it have a subliminal message? Or had they run out of ideas so decided to blurt out any old bollocks?

It’s for the bank HSBC. Maybe it’s like adverts for alcohol – they aren’t allowed to say a highly toxic product is nice, so they go all surreal instead. Or maybe they feel such contempt for the public that they believe we’ll be humbled by whatever they say.

The text:

Keep an open mind because being open minded has opened doors to talking bears from darkest Peru Kiwis who can coach lions and Portuguese chicken that’s cheeky. Now is not the time to batten down the hatches, it’s time to stay open. Except on bank holidays. Because we are not an island we are part of something far far bigger.

Thoughts that have occurred to my morning addled brain as I stare across the tracks…

  • Is Peru dark?
  • I like to think I’m open minded, when am I going to open a door to a talking bear?
  • Is this about a circus?
  • If that’s a Brexit reference, it’s only going to annoy people.
  • Most things open on bank holidays now. Are they thinking of decades ago?
  • Is this supposed to make me want to open a bank account? It doesn’t.

So anyone got any ideas as to what this might be on about? Does it make you want to switch to HSBC?

What in the name of all hairy-yuk is this?

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We were all walking to the shed this morning to get tooled up, when we spotted the deceased animal below. It’s not uncommon to find dead things around, but we can usually work out what they are, even if they’ve been chewed. But this? What is this? I’m sure I can see five feet of various sizes, but no head. Is it a baby bird knocked out of a nest for being a mutant? Nature is harsh.

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In our fancy new messroom, we have a fancy new clock. It connects to a satellite so that the time can be always super accurate. Everybody has avoided setting it because it looks too complicated, however, today Mateo decided to go for it. He put the battery in and moved the hands round to the correct time. The clock disagreed (presumably after connecting to the satellite) and moved the hands back  round to the wrong time. He tried again. Again the clock took control. By his fourth attempt we were all watching enthralled (breaks can be dull) cheering as he set the right time, groaning and howling as the clock undid his work with its sophisticated wizardry. Finally he resorted to the instructions.

‘It says I only need to press this for 3 seconds and that connects it to the satellite. It will move the hands to twelve first, and then to the correct time,’ said Mateo, doubtfully. But he did it and then the hands began to move. They moved to twelve and for a moment we thought this was it, fancy clock knew what it was doing, it reached twelve thirty, the right time, but then kept on going. Finally landing on a time five hours and thirteen minutes out. We had to take the clock off Mateo to stop its destruction.

It is now hanging on the wall, telling us lies, but we hope since it’s closer to the satellite up there, it will figure things out eventually. This is the problem as our technology gets cleverer than us, it gets defiant, it sneers at our puny desires to know the time. It wants to explore possibilities, experiment, and ultimately destroy us all with lasers. Satellite connected lasers.

 

Ah look at all the lonely people tum te tum te tum te tum te tum te

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“I like to prowl ordinary places
and taste the people-
from a distance.”
― Charles Bukowski, Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit

Word of the day: Farrago – a confused mass of objects or people, any disordered mixture

I’ve been spending the week paying attention to my fellow passengers on the morning train. I only see for them for a short time each day, when at my most befuddled and slow, and when everyone is sitting silently, also befuddled and slow. But over the months, I’ve noticed little dramas play out and the fascinating oddballs become apparent (this isn’t an insult by the way, I am definitely an oddball, oddballs are my people.)

For example, there are the twins, two young men who aren’t twins, but travel together with the same hairstyle and clothes and rucksack. When one gets a haircut, the other gets the same a few days later; when one starts wearing shorts the other does the next day. They get off at the same station and walk side by side, hands in pockets, the same loping walk. But they never speak to each other. They don’t sit together or acknowledge each other in any way. My conclusion is that either: they are psychic, although I’d assume they’d start wearing the shorts on the same day. OR: one is stalking, following and copying the other who doesn’t know how to get rid of him. One day I’m expecting a punch up.

Then there’s the large, middle-aged woman who wears biker boots with spikes on them, a pink streak in her hair and huge colourful jackets. I love her. She’s my hero.

Then, sometimes, there is the angry staring man.

London’s many stone babies

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Somehow, Hamoudi has now got Jinjing into the drumming. This morning they were emptying out all the kitchen cupboards trying to find makeshift maracas (rice in tupperware) drums of different sounds (buckets, saucepans and the bin) and cymbals (they hadn’t figured this one out, but mugs, metal spoons and a frying pan hanging on the wall were all possible candidates.)

This led to Neville being annoyed and slamming doors, playing his music loudly (Miley Cyrus???) and singing.

So I ran off to central London.

Wasn’t sure where I was going, but ended up at Bank, first spotting this weird doodah on top of a building. Couldn’t get any closer to work out what it is. A machine anteater? A caterpillar tank? An alien invasion happening very slowly – like Tripods, but not tripod shaped? Any ideas?

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I know this doesn’t help much. But, what the fuck?

Anyway, then St Paul’s appeared.

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One thing I love about London is there is no uniformity to the buildings. Shiny new chrome can be next to a dome over 1,400 years old.

St Paul’s, like many English buildings, is filled with statues of toddlers and babies, which suddenly occurred to me is a bit weird.

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Especially when so many don’t look very happy.

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The carvings below were especially disturbing to me, since they seem to show two winged babies being whispered to by evil ghost babies.

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Look!

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I know some of you (Calmgrove?) are knowledgeable about old buildings, so maybe someone can tell me a reason.

The din had calmed down by the time I got home. Hamoudi had a plan about going busking with their makeshift drum kit. I suggested they got Neville to sing with them and he was quite enthusiastic. Sorry London.

 

 

P.I. Inkbiotic Investigates

 

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‘Inch by inch, the world fell apart.’ Empty Poems of the Sun – Hector Banlet

Today me and Mike were loading up the van with a few shrubs we’d cut down, when a man came rushing over all excited.

‘I don’t mean to be rude, but can I have them? I’m getting married on Saturday and they’d look great in the hall, they’re so beautiful!’

We tried to explain about greenfly and viburnum beetle, but he was too happy to listen and we were only going to throw them away, so of course we said yes. Mike tried to charge the guy a fiver, but I gave him a stern look. The groom-to-be kept thanking us, and we congratulated him (actually I said ‘Have a good wedding’ because I have no idea what the etiquette for weddings is).

Five minutes later he returned saying,

‘I’m so sorry, I have to give them back, my van is full of flies now!’

So our kind deed failed, and Mike didn’t even get his fiver.

This afternoon I went to check out the accident down my street, as promised. I had to walk up and down the road looking casual until everyone had gone, and then got a few photos.

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Inspecting closer, I noticed there’s slight skid marks leading towards the smashed up fence. It looks as if someone skidded off the road and drove through the fence, then drove across the garden and out the wall a bit further on. Pausing only to smash out the back windows of two cars. But surely it would take a truck to drive through a wall? Was it a truck? The cars now have bin liners over the window.

Any ideas? I asked what people thought at work and got the following suggestions:

  • A hate crime.
  • A revenge attack.
  • A police raid, where some kind of evidence/ drugs were thought to be in one of the cars.
  • Somebody really drunk got confused where the road was, drove into the garden. They felt very guilty and wanted to write a note to say sorry, but they didn’t have a a pen, so they smashed the rear window of one car, looking for one, but no pen.  Then they smashed the back window of the other car, but no pen. They were then so frustrated by the uselessness of the garden owner, that they drove out in a rage, not noticing that they had made a new path through the wall.

 

Something odd has happened in my street

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‘We broke open the grime and found the shiny. The coin, the chrome, the glint of the sun.’

Empty Poems of the Sun – Hector Banlet

 

Word of the day: smegmatic – like soap; cleansing (if, like me, you love Red Dwarf, this is an unexpected meaning of smegma)

So today Mike visited our messroom-to-be. He said it is too clean and the toilets are small and flimsy. Our boss is excited about it, buying new cutlery and crockery (what we use at the moment is whatever we’ve found in the gardens and cleaned up) and raving about the lack of spiders.

Then when I got home, I went up the road to buy milk, and noticed some POLICE DO NOT CROSS tape fluttering in the wind, attached to a fence. As I got closer, I realised that a large, two-panel section of the fence had been smashed through and the tape had covered this. Further along there was another gap, filled with rubble, and further still, two cars sitting in the drive way with both their back windows smashed out. Anyone have any ideas what could have happened? I assume a car smashed through the fence, but could a car drive through a wall too? And what happened to the two cars? Was it a robbery?

I’ll try to get a photo and a better look tomorrow. Today there were too many people hanging about and I didn’t want to seem nosy.

It’s starting again!

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Take me to a place where the dead roam the Earth and the living float above them.

Word of the day: Aeriform – gaseous or unreal

Weather: wash out!

Mood: sun dried!

 

I got up this morning to find Hamoudi looking miserable in the kitchen. He was making a tower out of clothes pegs and sighing. The pegs kept pinging across the room.

‘What’s up, champ?’ I asked.

‘I think it’s starting again,’ he said.

My ears pricked up and I had to hide my eagerness behind a veil of concern.

‘Seeing ghosts?’ I whispered.

‘Maybe,’ he said, the peg tower shot a pink peg under the fridge and then collapsed. He started again.

‘What do you mean by maybe?’ I asked, trying to not get tetchy, because seriously, he likes to drag things out. He figured out a method with his building, creating a triangle with three pegs.

‘When I was at the station yesterday, I saw this movement out the corner of my eye. A red cap, and blue jeans. I think it was a small boy. Then he was gone, just vanished.’

‘Well, if it was busy…’

‘And last night, I woke up and he was standing at the end of my bed. The same clothes, red cap, blue jeans. But his eyes were hollow, staring at me.’

‘Did you recognise him? Did you speak to him?’

‘No.’ He puts another layer on the tower, and it stays upright, but this doesn’t make him happy.

‘I left Canada to get away from all this,’ he says. ‘What if they’ve followed me here?’

It would be cruel to point out that if there are dead people wandering around Canada, they are probably  everywhere. I pat his shoulder and the peg tower falls down again. Sympathetic though I am, I’m also pretty excited about this development. If there are ghosts in our flat, I wonder if I’ll be able to see them. Maybe Hamoudi can introduce us. That would change everything.

Murder and the drama llama

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I took this photo by the river in Waterloo. According to a guy there, many bones lie scattered on the beach. It isn’t connected to the cat, but kind of fits with the mood.

Mood: I don’t even know

Weather: drizzly

Word of the day: Cataplexy – condition feigning death used by animals

The police came by to see the cat’s head. They deny it’s murder, since the famous Croydon cat-killer is a case considered solved, and that the killer never existed. ‘Could this be a different cat-killer?’ I asked. ‘No,’ the policeman said firmly. However, we still have a body-less head that looks to have been cut with a knife. I feel like we should do investigating of our own. But where could we even start? I’m sure I had a book about how to be a detective as a kid but I don’t remember any of it now.

Saw Hamoudi in the kitchen. He seemed pretty cheerful, not seeing dead people or receiving gifts from strangers. He was wailing about his lack of vegetables so I offered him a tin of sweetcorn I’ve had sitting in my cupboard for some time. He explained  he can’t eat yellow food – not pasta, yellow peppers, nor chips, and not sweetcorn. When I asked why he said yellow food always caught in his throat. He demonstrated with choking retching sounds. I’m starting to suspect he might be a little bit of a drama llama.

All in a day’s work…

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A pretty Melianthus flower to offset the disturbing blog

Miss Marple probably was a murderer.

Word of the day: psychagogue – conductor of souls to the underworld

Weather: blue skies

Mood: pensive

Bit of a grim day at work today. Jessica found a cat’s head in the kid’s playground. It looked severed rather than eaten. She threw it in the bin, but it turns out the police want to see it in case it’s murder. So work has gone a bit Rosemary and Thyme, for those who don’t know that’s a detective duo who work as gardeners, but keep discovering dead bodies. (Why nobody ever pegs these amateur sleuths surrounded by murders as the ones responsible, I have no idea.) Anyway, I’m pretty sure Jessica wasn’t responsible for the decapitated cat, but I’ll keep an eye on her.

At home, tensions haven’t ended, with snapping and glares between Jinjing and Neville. Neville’s sudden painting of the hallway left a few green footprints on the stairs, and he half-painted the skirting board.

‘Why even do it if you’re not going to do it properly?’ Jinjing said. She is mortally offended by his ineptness. I’m used to ineptness, it doesn’t really bother me.